July 17, 2008
Fat Cat Diet
I have a fat cat. In fact, he is VERY fat (a 15 pounder on my human scale -- and I know that it is off when I step on it --he has to be over that mark, for sure!) At first, we all laughed at him and called him "tubby" instead of tabby; but, now it is clear that he is not something to be laughed at. I was petting him yesterday and as he rolled over, I was shocked to see just how "fat" he was, especially in his tummy.
Gussy (or Gus - Asparagus) was a runt when we got him. He had been orphaned by his mother and he was barely 3 weeks old. I bottled fed him until he could eat mushy foods. I then kept him on formula for a bit longer than normal, simply because he appeared to have some palate issues (eating/swallowing). At some point, maybe around 3-4 months, he seemed to figure out how to eat and started eating everything in sight. He ate everyone else's food -- which is not a good thing when you have other cats who are very hungry. My other cats, Winston, age 1; and, Zachary, age 18; are not the kinds to be very pushy. If anything they are laid back and push overs. Gus stuck his nose in everyone else's bowl and the other guys would just let him get away with it. I know, bad kitten behavior. In a family of kittens, Gussy would have learned to share and eat his own food because his siblings would have stuck their noses in his bowl too. Unfortunately, Gussy learned he could eat whenever and as much food as he liked. So I have no one to blame but myself -- I have created a FAT CAT.
So, now I need a diet program that will work for him. I am hesitant to remove the free feed because my elderly cat is pretty scrawny and doesn't always eat when the others do. My middle cat is normal size. He is a big boy, but not overweight. I have switched bowls and put down three small bowls instead of the two connected jumbo ones I was using. I am also going to not allow them to free feed but twice a day. I have them on dry food -- cheaper on me and easier for us to handle -- and will not change their food yet. I think restricting food is first. I am aware that with cats, you cannot just change diets or else they can become very ill. I think slow restriction of food is the key (counting calories for a cat, so to speak.)
Oh well...we will see how it goes...
Ps. I will post a before and after picture of Gus later on.